Episode #71: Marketing Hype vs. Real PCOS Health Solutions

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Marketing Hype vs. Real PCOS Health Solutions

What you’ll learn in this episode

Deciphering truly healthy foods from those cleverly marketed as such can be a real challenge. We live in a time when “health” information is at our fingertips, but it’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming abundance of dietary advice and food products competing for our attention and their contradicting claims. Let’s explore the pitfalls in food marketing and discover how to make informed choices that align with your PCOS goals. 

The Influence of Food Marketing

There are food marketing tactics that make products seem healthier than they truly are. I’m this episode you will learn how to recognize the buzzwords and trends that often lead us astray and understand the importance of going beyond the surface when evaluating food products. By the end of this segment, you’ll have a clearer perspective on how to navigate the grocery aisles and make choices that genuinely support your health.

Deciphering Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels are your allies in the quest for healthier eating, but they can be tricky to interpret. In this section, you’ll learn what you are looking to ensure the foods you buy are actually meeting the needs you have. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll gain confidence in selecting foods that align with your PCOS goals.

The Halo Effect in Food Marketing

The “halo effect” is a common marketing strategy that attaches a single healthy trend to a product, making it appear virtuous. We’ll dissect this phenomenon and uncover how it can lead us to make choices based on limited information. By recognizing the halo effect, you’ll be better equipped to see through marketing tactics and prioritize foods that genuinely nourish your body.

Taking Control of Your Nutrition

After listening to this episode you will have actionable steps to confidently navigate your nutrition. Discover practical strategies for making conscious, informed food choices that support your PCOS journey.

Don’t let marketing hype and confusion dictate your dietary decisions; take charge of your nutrition and embark on a path to a more vibrant, balanced, and joyful life.

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

We live in a time where information is abundant, almost overabundant, and right at our fingertips. A quick Google search yields a staggering millions of results, and we are just bombarded with information from influencers on social media and marketing tactics left and right from the packaging of our food to what our friends are using. It’s very, very difficult to decipher why we’re even choosing the foods that we’re choosing, and are they meeting our health needs? It leads to this incredible sense of overwhelm when it comes to trying to navigate what is healthy and what is just marketing hype. In today’s episode, we’re going to get into some of the things to look out for so that you can learn to recognize the difference between finding good quality food and recognizing when something may seem healthy on the surface, but it’s just packaged foods that are just the same as all of the non-healthy brands out there. So let’s dive in.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair Podcast where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS repair podcast, where we’re going to be talking about how to decipher what foods are actually healthy and what foods are simply marketed as healthy. You can even take the information that you’re going to learn in today’s episode, beyond foods into household products and things that are, quotes, non-toxic and are they really making marketing claims or are they giving you actual information? It seems like every influencer out there has this different magic solution. They know all the right buzzwords to grab our attention to make it feel like this is the thing that is going to solve our problem. Whether or not they’re promoting cardio versus weightlifting versus plant-based versus low carb, they can sell it as the thing you need that’s going to fix whatever problem it is that you have. We are bombarded with these endless reels and videos and before and after pictures. It’s amazing how if we see them enough times, all of a sudden, they start to get in our heads and start to influence our decision making. Now, not all of that is bad. I have found many wonderful ideas and many wonderful products through social media, through marketing, through the way that things are packaged and presented at a grocery store.

The problem is not being able to recognize when it’s right for you, your situation, and what your body needs. That’s what we’re going to get into today. As we get started in this conversation, I think it’s really important to think about some of the well-defined ways of eating or diets that have become really popular in nutritional advice. These include things like keto, paleo, plant-based. We always hear how the Mediterranean diet is such a healthy diet that maybe we need to restrict calories, or maybe we need to stop restricting so many calories and we start to hear from various people on different sides of these topics. First of all, I think it’s really important to recognize where some of the issues actually lie. All of those diets that I just mentioned have good and less desirable aspects to them. Now, again, we have to remember this is a lifestyle. This is not about labeling certain things as good or bad. It’s getting into the information so that you can make a more informed decision for yourself. Ultimately, we want to have a good focus of our time nourishing our bodies and then reserve some of that time for enjoyment of things that we’re eating and partaking in and doing in our lives.

We need to be well-informed so that we’re not mistakenly thinking we’re eating something healthy that honestly is just repackaged and remarketed unhealthy food. I think this one really caught my attention because it’s so obviously not going to be assisting in our glucose control, so our blood sugar control. It’s definitely going to spike our insulin and that is that Reese’s recently came out with a plant-based Reese’s peanut butter cup. I don’t remember if it was organic or not, but in other words, the labeling just really struck me for the episode that we’re talking about today. It was packaged in a more natural look. It had big letters that it was plant-based. All of these things that almost make you do this double take of like, Oh, Reese’s peanut butter cups are now healthy. Well, no, they’re just plant-based. Those things, those marketing things all of a sudden make us feel better about what we’re eating. Now, there’s no reason to feel bad about eating a Reese’s cup, whether you choose the plant-based one or the non-plant-based one. If you have a dairy allergy, the plant-based one might be a really exciting new invention. However, it’s important to still realize where that falls in the, is this an enjoyment category or a nourishing category of what we’re choosing to eat to really address the hormone and metabolic imbalances that come with our PCOS?

It makes me laugh because I feel like it’s… I mean, it’s not really funny. I feel like it’s deceitful that we are being fed all of this propaganda and it makes it really frustrating because, yeah, we can see through it but at the same time, can we just get the facts, please? It’s exhausting to have to keep sorting through the facts. So hopefully in today’s episode, you’ll start to see where some of the places to look are, some of the things to consider, and ultimately some ways to step aside from all of the marketing and just make your life simple and get to eating nourishing food and then enjoying what you actually want instead of being pulled this way and that way and then wondering why nothing is working. I think that’s the part that gets really frustrating is that you’re trying this and you thought it was healthy, and then you’re trying this and you thought it was going to be the answer ends up happening as we start feeling like nothing works for me. Something must be wrong with me, or my PCOS is really bad. I have the kind that nothing works for and that’s really more to do with just being susceptible to influencing, whether it’s through a social media influencer or a big brand marketing or what’s available at our local grocery store and how they set it up seasonally to look so enticing and so many things now are geared to make us feel like they might be healthy because marketing is aware that people are more conscious of their health than they were in years past. The Standard American Diet, which the acronym is SAD, which I think is really appropriate because it’s sad, what has happened to the Standard American Diet and it was not created in an evil intent. In fact, it was created because we wanted to get food in the hand and on the tables of as many American families as possible because we didn’t want people, and especially children, going hungry. The criteria of what became the Standardized American Diet was that it was foods that were able to produce enough, that they were able to produce enough inexpensively and then third, that they could be preserved long enough that they would actually be able to be used. So you could have enough, you could afford it, and it would last until you needed it.

And then finally, it was palatable. You would eat it. So nothing about the criteria had anything to do with health, disease prevention, or anything to do with nourishment. It had to do with people not going hungry and it also had to do with business. At the end of the day, this was for consumers, but it also served a purpose of getting food into the hands of everyone. Now, since then, what we have realized is that this preserved, palatable, inexpensive food is made from ingredients that are highly addictive, highly inflammatory, and wreak havoc on our metabolic hormones, particularly our glucose and our insulin and so the problem is that we’ve gotten hooked on foods that are quick and easy, refined carbohydrates that give us this rush of energy, create this addictive effect in our brains, and they fill us up but they don’t provide nourishment. They don’t provide everything that our bodies need and then we also, and this is something as a side note, we start to think, Oh, I can’t afford healthy food. Well, that’s because we’re used to the standard American diet where we’re living off inexpensive empty calories and so there’s a lot of just recalibrating our budget, our groceries, our country list, the foods that we make in our homes, as we start to realize the effect on our health and our wellness and diseases that are popping up because of the standard American diet.

Again, it wasn’t a malicious intent, but we’ve lived with it for enough years. It has progressed to other countries, and we’re seeing the same results over and over and over that people’s health is declining when they follow the Standard American diet. What are the alternatives? Now, I have a lot of episodes here with the PCOS repair podcast that get a little bit more into the actual nourishing of PCOS. There is not a one-size-fits-all, and there’s not a certain amount of you need to eat this many vegetables or you need to eat this few of processed foods. This varies person to person, what their body can get away with and we talked about this a little bit more recently on the episode about the continuous glucose monitoring and that can really help you assess how carb tolerant you are or how carb intolerant you are, meaning your body, any carbohydrates spikes you through the roof. Those are all things that you can go back and listen to. But for today, some things that we want to take a look at. As the Standard American Diet, as businesses now who’ve been producing this type of food, realize that people are becoming more and more and more aware, they are trying to make healthier versions.

Again, not getting into the weeds of, are they trying to hide things from us, or are they just trying to sell for us and they don’t care? That’s company by company. I can’t speak to that and my concern is that we understand what we’re looking for. There’s another episode, and I’ll link to these in the show notes below, but there’s another episode where I talk about nutrition labels. Go and listen to that one as well because I don’t want to go through all of that again here, especially if you’ve already heard it but one thing that we do want to look at is the fact that all packaged foods are probably going to have some degree of preservatives, some degree of additives, and certain foods that tend to be more inflammatory tend to have a longer shelf life. We want to keep that in mind and try to focus again on whole foods. Going to the meat department and getting good sources of protein, eggs, even some dairy, depending on, again, you have to see, are you sensitive to dairy? Do you do okay with dairy? Of course, all the vegetables and some fruits, and trying to keep foods as whole and natural as possible is going to be really helpful.

The other thing, though, that as companies start to try to make things more appealing to a culture that is becoming more aware of health and wellness, the packaging can be very, very, very misleading. I was telling my mom that we’re trying to move away from canola oil. So we try to stick with fats and oils that are as least inflammatory as possible and so we try not to do like Palm or knock off versions of basically canola oil spray. So she was trying to support me in that and we went on a vacation, stayed at an Airbnb together, and she shows up and she’s all excited about the fact that she has avocado spray, which is one of the oils that I like, an avocado oil spray and it has some Simple Truth brand label on it and it’s green and it’s all looking healthy and I look at the back of it and the first ingredient in it is canola oil. Yes, it has avocado oil in there, too, but the entire label is all about avocado oil, all about the benefits of avocado oil. It’s all, in my opinion, misleading. I pointed it out to her and she’s like, Oh, my goodness, there was five on the shelf and of course, I had to grab the one that really first ingredient. So your most highest volume ingredient in there is what I was trying to avoid and then I paid more for it. Got to look at what is it that you’re looking for in the product. We were looking for avocado oil, is it in there? Sure, it was in there. Is it near the top of the list? No, it was the second ingredient of two ingredients and two, what are you trying to avoid? Well, we were trying to avoid canola oil and what was the first ingredient? Canola oil. So it takes just having a little bit of touching base with yourself. What is it that I’m trying to get here? As you see things on social media with influencers or brands marketing their products, and you maybe see like, Oh, this looks like a really good protein shake or a really good… They send you a pre-ready meal in a box to your front door, or it’s a protein bar or something like this. Maybe it’s like a protein cookie. In that situation, take a step back and look at, okay, what is it that I’m trying to get here?

Okay, I’m trying to look for a healthy snack. Then think about, well, what would you make at home? What would you normally grab? And is this a better option? It. Because again, this isn’t a black and white thing. It’s a spectrum. If normally what you would grab for a healthy snack or you don’t get a healthy snack and you’re looking for something to add into your normal day for a snack because you hit your next meal too hungry and you feel like you’re not making as good of choices as you could, this helps to set some parameters of what is it that you’re even looking for. Are you looking for something that’s healthier than carrot sticks and a slice of cheese? Well, now you have a pretty high standard. If you’re looking for something that’s better than a Snickers bar, well, pretty much all protein bars are going to be better than a Snickers bar. This is where it really depends on what are you currently doing and what would be better? Sure, you could go from the Snickers bar to the carrot sticks and a slice of cheese, but that’s a big switch. One, it requires you to get in your refrigerator and pack something new, which is a habit that I would encourage you to start implementing but you may want to have some options on the side to grab for the days that you just don’t quite make that happen. Again, this is really getting in touch with where are you at, what are you trying to accomplish? What was the goal here? Instead of just randomly being marketed to and ending up eating things that looked healthy, but they have ingredients in it that you just never were aware of and you’re wondering why you’re not getting the results that you want in your health. There’s a phenomenon called the halo effect. This is probably the biggest thing for today’s episode. That is that we will see in marketing or in influencers, spiels, and posts, they will grab onto one healthy trend. They may use it over and over. They may use a combination of a couple, and they make the food sound wonderful because of that one healthy trend. An example of this would be, it’s gluten-free. You may have heard that gluten-free is a good option for PCOS. I have mixed feelings on that. Personally, I tend to like things that have gluten in them versus the ones that are gluten-free. I find that they both tend to be a refined carbohydrate, and so my blood sugar does just about as horrible on both of them and so if I’m going to have one, I choose the one that I think tastes better. That’s what I do for me. Now, I have not seen myself do better or worse with gluten versus non-gluten. I have seen myself do worse with quantity of refined carbohydrate versus less quantity of refined carbohydrate and so that is something that I have personally tested and played around with, it’s going to be different for every single person. So when someone says something is gluten-free, great but what else is in it? Is it full of dates? Is it full of sugar? Is it full of inflammatory oils? Is there any protein in it? These are the things that I want to start asking not just like, Oh, great. They have this buzzword that it’s gluten-free. Another example might be something like I was talking about the olive oil or that was an avocado oil but maybe they’re saying something like it has omega-3s in it and so someone who’s wanting to get more omega-3s, they’re like, Oh, this is great. I’ve been trying to get more omega-3s. Well, if you want to get more omega 3s because you heard it was a good idea, first of all, check in.

Let’s see. Is it going to be a good idea for you? Or are you going down a tangent that may or may not be helpful for you when you could have focused on something that would have been really helpful for you? Again, it’s not a good or a bad. It’s just that we only have 24 hours in our day. We only have so much grocery budget. Where do we want to spend our time and money? And also does it taste good? Sometimes these things that are supposedly healthy that aren’t even all that healthy actually don’t taste all that great either. So just things to work into how you’re making this your lifestyle that works for you. Okay, so you decide I need more Omega-3s. Well, maybe take a moment to read about Omega-3s and how they function in various foods. What I mean by this is, sometimes certain foods, although technically the ingredient of Omega-3s is in there, it’s not going to be well absorbed because however the food was processed. If it was flaxseeds and it was cooked, they can put on the label that flaxseeds are an amazing source of Omega-3s.

What they don’t put on the label is that as soon as you cook those flaxseeds, none of it’s going to be absorbed. Those are things where if you’re looking for something to be a good source of something, sometimes we have to do just a little bit more research. I’m sorry, I know as I say this that it’s going to start to feel even more complicated to you. What I would recommend to take away the complication, focus on one or two things at a time. Learn about those, get good at those. How you choose those, my recommendation would be the things that are going to move your results forward the most but if you can’t figure out where that’s going to be, that’s where working with someone like me is really helpful but if you’re doing this on your own, picking one or two things, learning about one or two things, finding the right product for those two things. I wanted to get rid of canola oil, so I found that avocado oil is less flavorful than the olive oil. It also seems to be a little bit more flexible in that when I use it in a pan and I’m cooking scrambled eggs, I don’t feel like it gets as soapy, where I feel like olive oil makes my eggs a little soapy and so it’s not really soapy, but it has this almost bubbly, soapy texture to it. So these are all things that I’m looking at and it’s like, okay, I found my cooking spray. Moving on. Next thing on the list. What else do I want to incorporate into my healthy, nourishing lifestyle? So pick one or two things, find them, cross them off your list, and then you can put blinders on because you’re like, Okay, I got my omega-3 taken care of, I realized that they would be beneficial to me, I found a good source of them, I feel good about the source that I’m using. And then if you hear about something else or you see something else, you can look into that one if you feel like it but you’re no longer in this vulnerable, Oh, yeah, I need to do something with my omega-3s. I need to add those and so you’re vulnerable to being gullible to whatever marketing markets out this halo word that just makes this food sound like the end all be all of all healthy foods because it has omega-3s in it. Those are the things that you would want to look at and they tout one ingredient as making this food healthy. We really want to look deeper and see, well, what else is in there?

So unfortunately, this is where you do have to have some nutritional awareness and some nutritional knowledge and so by all means, go listen to the episode. Again, I’ll link it in the show notes about the nutrition labels and reading those and how to pick foods that are going to be more nutritious for your PCOS but this is also where working with someone who understands nutrition and who’s really good at decoding what’s actually in a product can be really helpful. So if you do need help, feel free to reach out and I can tell you about the different ways that I work with people to help them discover what’s going to be, one, the most helpful things to start working on so that they can see the most progress quicker, but also what may or may not be tripping them up on their health journey, and how to find products that are really going to meet those goals because there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel completely. This is something that I’ve been doing for years and years and years, and can give you quick and easy recommendations so that you don’t have to hit the overwhelm and have to look all of this up over and over.

So in conclusion for today, it’s really important to start to recognize as we bring in new thoughts, new products, new food items into our daily lives to just take a moment to be aware how much marketing is surrounding us in our day and age and how much marketing is hitting us on social media, how much marketing is hitting us. Just do cool ideas of how we pack a lunch or what utensils we use. There’s so much messaging out there right now that just take a moment to just check in with yourself and see, is this in line with what I want to be doing? And in regards to your PCOS, does this fall into the category of, Oh, this looks fun and looks like it would taste good, and so I want to save this for one of my planned indulgences? Or does this fall into the category of, Oh, this might be a really fun and interesting way to add to the nourishment of my hormones and when you’re just open and honest about it with yourself, it’s really easy to figure out where it will fit and if it’s even a good fit for you, if it’s something that fits what you’re currently trying to accomplish, it doesn’t have to be a big, long rabbit hole that you go down. It can just be a quick check-in. Oh, does this assist me with where I’m currently at? And if it does, great. If not, keep scrolling.

With that, I think I just see so many questions lately about, is this a healthy choice? I saw someone talking about this on Instagram. I think that it’s really important to just put out there that there’s so many things out there to confuse us. At the end of the day, the real true health things are still very simple, whole foods but it is fun to find convenient, easy, packaged ways to add some variety, add some ease and there are good things out there. It’s just we have to be a little bit careful and go a little farther than those halo ingredients that we see overarching marketing of a product.

So there you have it. As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, or follow up questions for this episode today, you can find me over on Instagram @nourishedtohealthy. And until next time, bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves, this is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS Fertility Meal Guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz

   What Do Your Symptoms Mean?

  Discover your current PCOS Root Cause

Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause. 

Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now